I use hands to help my fellow man / I use hands to help with what I can / But when I face an unjust injury / Then I change my hand into FIST OF FURY

Happy Martin Luther King Day

I hope everybody had a good Martin Luther King Day. I don’t know what people usually do to celebrate the holiday. There are not really many traditions that I know of. I’m sure Trent Lott hangs out with his black business man friends, now that he has decided to start believing in the holiday. They are probaly working on their strategy to stop Bush’s attack on affirmative action, which he believes in. Have a good one Trent. Remember, less than a year until Kwanzaa.

I really want MLK Day to be a joyous celebration because this is one holiday I really do believe in, and I have not been involved in any neo-confederate controversies so you know I really mean that. I want it to be “a holiday where peace is celebrated all throughout the world” as Mr. Steveland Morris once sang. Unfortunately its a pretty fucked up holiday when you think about it because King dedicated much of his life, and especially those last three years, to helping end poverty. But then places stay open on Martin Luther King Day and who is it working? It’s the working class people, the minimum wage people, the retail people. And they probaly have to work harder than usual because they have all the rich people who get the day off coming in to buy shit. It would be nice to see the holiday practice a little more what the man preached.

It has been pointed out to me that the same thing will happen if we ever go through with this idea of making election day a holiday. Stores will be open, and probaly have sales, and all the people we really want to vote will be the ones having a harder time getting out of work, even if the law requires them to have 2 hours where they can vote.

Anyway, here in Seattle we celebrated the holiday with a march which used the slogan “Support the Poor, No More War” but was largely a no war in Iraq march. It seemed like there were as many people there as that last march I went to, which if I remember right was reported as 10,000 people, but this one the news said was “almost 5,000 people”. That’s gotta be a lie though because how do you determine that it was almost 5,000 anymore than you can determine it was just over 5,000? Do they expect us to believe that they narrowed it down to somewhere between 4,892 and 4,967, and decided to be more general and just say almost 5,000?

I wonder how they come to these estimates. Do they include babies? Do they include people that are standing on the sidewalks holding signs, but not actually marching? Also what about people who see the march and join up, but did not participate in the opening stretch? Or what about people who can’t walk very far so they cut out early, are they disqualified? What are the rules?

The truth is, nobody has any idea how many people were there, but it always seems like more people than they say on tv. It’s weird but when you see the actual thing and then see the tv coverage, you have no choice but to suspect they either just started doing tv news that very day with no training, or are deliberately trying to marginalize the event. They never show aerial photos and they always seem to choose closeup footage of like 10 marchers. They never capture the scope of the thing. You don’t see this:

(see that red arrow… the people go at least that far back… it looked like they were still coming around the corner there. And I wasn’t even close to the front.)

See, that’s what I got by holding my crappy camera up and pushing the button. You’d think a professional camera crew with lots of equipment and experience would be able to figure something out.

Look at that, just the people you can see in the front there is about 25 people. And those are people all the way down the street and for many blocks ahead. That’s what 4,967 people looks like I guess.

This was my favorite part. The march went over the freeway and looped around to make this turn. I need a better camera but you can sort of see beneath the red arrow there, the people are still coming down that overpass. They just keep coming and coming and coming. You could tell the people in cars were amazed and/or horrified at the amount of people.

Oh well. At least the media COVERED this weekend’s march in Washington DC. Even if they could’ve covered it better, it’s a step up.

Again I have to encourage everybody to take part in a march like this, it is very inspiring to see that many people coming together. This time I thought I was near the front of the group and then all the sudden we got to this hill where you could see the people in front, all the sudden you realize that there are hundreds of tiny little signs going blocks and blocks ahead of you, as far as you can see. It actually is what they call breathtaking.

And all along the way people in cars were showing their support. It really makes you feel good to see a guy jump out of his car and yell “Great job you guys!” with a huge smile in his face. But I gotta admit what I enjoyed more was a young gal in a BMW talking on a cell phone with a look of disgust on her face. From where she was she couldn’t tell there was about a mile’s worth of marchers still coming.

Anyway, it was a great march. There were a couple good people at the rallies too. Some labor leaders, some high school rapper kids with some good anti-war lyrics and a grizzled folk singer who had some very entertaining lyrics about Bush and Cheney and how “No way you learned that shit from Christ.” I didn’t care for the “spoken word artists” though. If you’re gonna yell a bunch of cliches about how angry you are at america, you gotta at least come up with one or two clever plays on words to throw in there. And variations on “land of the free and home of the brave” don’t count. This includes “land of the thief and home of the slave” because buddy, you didn’t make that one up. I am declaring a moratorium an all “land of the free home of the brave” variations for spoken artists.

My advice is if you’re gonna be annoyed by the rally, just attend the march. You won’t regret it.

WHAT’S ON TV

I saw one of these new documentary shows they got now, where they kidnap a bunch of has-been ’80s celebrities and force them to go camping together. They got MC Hammer, Webster, the older gal from Beverly Hills #90210, Corey Feldman, the guy from Motley Crew, some lady from Baywatch, and then some lady from Survivor (not sure if it’s the band or the show, I’m not familiar with either one).

Now this sounds like a pretty asinine idea for a show but I gotta admit I enjoyed watching it. There was this scene where they were sitting around the fire and Corey Feldman was whining and complaining about the tough life he has being sort of in a way in the public eye. All the sudden MC Hammer started giving this eloquent pep talk about how they are blessed and anybody who can do one film or one album and get $13 million, they should be ashamed of themselves complaining when there are real people out there really truly struggling to provide for their children. So Corey said well, I never made $13 million for one project, and then MC Hammer said he would become his agent and help him live up to his potential, and all the sudden he was interupted by real coyotes howling off in the distance.

I swear to god what happened next, Emmanuel Lewis jumped up and made a run for the tent. They cut in an interview with him later where he said he’s seen nature documentaries, he knows coyotes go for the most vulnerable prey, and that’s him. But he wasn’t going to hide. Right away he pops back out of the tent with a rolled up towel, and he unwraps it to reveal a huge knife, and he starts swinging it around.

I don’t know what all this means about our culture of celebrity or voyeurism or the fleeting nature of fame or postmodernism and irony and post-irony and what have you but I do know, man, I never thought I’d see THAT before. That was some good fuckin television, in my opinion.

YOU ARE GROWING VERY SLEEPY. REPEAT AFTER ME. WHEN IT COMES TO THE ECONOMY BUSH HAS SHOWN GENUINE LEADERSHIP. WHEN IT COMES TO THE ECONOMY BUSH HAS SHOWN GENUINE LEADERSHIP. WHEN IT…

I keep saying that by using today’s technology the anti-war movement can be more powerful than it was during Vietnam. Well it looks like the Bush Regime and/or their supporters have the same idea. I’m not sure who broke it first, but there have been many articles pointing out that the SAME letter and variations on the same letter (all using the ridiculous statement above) were published in many different places, with different signatures. Most of the letters are exactly the same, sometimes with small variations, always with a different name and city attached.

I guess technically this could’ve been done in the old days on paper, but it’s much easier and cheaper to spam the fuckin thing all over the world. The idea is that by making people hear that phrase enough times it will almost seem like it is not completely asinine. It’s brainwashing, basically.

All you have to do is go to google and type in “President Bush is demonstrating genuine leadership”. Now this has been written about enough that you will have to sort through many articles about the letter, but you will also find many local newspaper editorial pages with the letter. You know something’s fishy when you type in a sentence that specific and it gives you 407 results.

Anyway, this is just a head’s up for you. This is what they do now.

ONE MORE THING ABOUT BUSH

Have you noticed how Bush always hides from and doesn’t comment on the numerous huge anti-war marches, but then when there’s an anti-abortion march he makes sure to give them a speech via telephone?

I’m not naive. I know this is because Bush has a boner for war, and wants to ban abortion (or at least wants to lead on the people who want to ban abortion). And honestly, I’m not saying one is good and one is bad. I really don’t have an opinion on abortion, because I have never been pregnant before. I think those of us with penises and testacles have alot of fuckin nerve thinking we can decide this issue. (except transsexuals). And hey if you’re against abortion, I applaud you for having a march about it instead of blowing people up or shooting. That is always a good thing.

(By the way, if you’re so fuckin pro-life why weren’t you at our anti-war march, huh?)

But think about it. If Bush really wants us to believe that he hasn’t decided yet, that he wants peace, etc., shouldn’t he come out and say, “Yes, I share your concerns, I hope we can avoid this war but in my opinion we might not be able to”? And if he is supposed to represent us, and we are supposed to “get over it” that he rigged the election and even then had to cheat AND win without the popular vote… shouldn’t he address all of these groups?

No, of course a fuckwad like Bush is never going to do this. Very few politicians would do it. But I would like this country to live up to our slogan of Best Country in the World. I would like to have a president who would actually come out, if not in a speech than at a press conference, to address the concerns of popular movements. “This is why I disagree with you, and why.” Instead, they pretend the march never happened.

Oh well. Fuck him.

HUMAN SHIELDS

I’m just learning about this so I don’t have much to offer, but have you heard about this project for Americans and Britons to go to Iraq as “human shields” to try to stop the bombing of civilians?

Look up the name Ken Nichols O’Keefe. I saw him on TV yesterday and I was pretty impressed. He’s a tough guy Gulf War Veteran with a tear tattoo who has renounced his US citizenship and is now using his machismo in the name of human rights instead of war. Like Billy Jack.

On whichever cable news show I saw him interviewed, the interviewer actually suggested in all seriousness that he needed psychological help. So that will be the strategy, “He’s crazy,” just like they did with John Brown.

Well, maybe he is a little crazy, after all he’s planning to put himself in harm’s way for something he believes in. And unfortunately it is probaly naive to think that soldiers won’t bomb the human shields anyway, maybe even on purpose, unless they really get thousands of them out there (which is what they’re hoping to do). That makes him crazy in the same way that Gandhi and Martin Luther King were crazy I guess. (Though this guy is a lot more volatile.)

I was also impressed by his eloquence on this show. He is a suffers no fools type. The guy asked him if it was true that he had a warrant out for his arrest in the US. He said that yes, it was true, it is for failure to appear and it is because of his political beliefs in defending the native hawaiians from genocide. Please, give me more time and we can talk about that in detail. I would love to talk about my arrest warrant.

When the interviewer matter of factly accused O’Keefe of having “deep antipathy” for his country, O’Keefe put him in his place explaining that in fact it is people like this interviewer who have been duped into treasonous acts against their country by going along with the PATRIOT Act and this war in blatant disregard of our Constitution. He asked him to read the Constitution and then read the PATRIOT Act and take notes.

I don’t know much about this guy. I know alot of people even on our side are going to be turned off by his sort of hothead persona. And I wish he would tell his fellow human shields that they are not allowed to bring their children (apparently he says he can’t make that decision).

But personally I am glad to see a guy like this on our side. I’m so sick of these pushover democrats who can’t do shit. I wish people like Noam Chomsky could be our representatives in the media, but they are crushed by the soundbite and the short attention span, and they are smeared by out of context quotes and blatant lies about their beliefs. Here is a guy who can make a very powerful statement just by going and standing in the middle of a war zone. It’s very to the point.

I hope he doesn’t have to become a martyr. I think we could use this guy. But I’m guessing some poor schmo soldier will have the mission of “accidentally” blowing him up. And then maybe that kid will grow up to replace him.

Let me know what you think about all this.

thanks,

–Vern

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 22nd, 2003 at 6:23 am and is filed under Vern Tells It Like It Is. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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